2013 and beyond

It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.

2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

35, 36, 37....

Two male Common Mergs (35) were scanned from the roof top vantage day before yesterday as they flew over the Kalamazoo Lake basin towards Lake MI. A four year old Bald Eagle was the only other highlight in the time I spent up there.

The first Coop (36) of the yard this year finally made itself visible. There has been a predator around all winter keeping the birds wary and shy of the feeders and this is likely it - a big female and very stealthy.

Tonight I did another roof sit after work and prior to dusk trying for more waterfowl, but only came up with a fly-over flock of 30 Red-wings (37). A cheery flock of 6 AMRO kept me company, as well. No Timberdoodle this evening, but they should be here soon!

First official northbound migrant raptor of 2012

Until now, all of the raptors I've recorded over my yard were likely local wintering birds, but this guy was up quite high, moving north and soaring between bouts of gliding. Man is it happening early this year!
Red-shouldered Hawk, Sand Lake, MI, Feb 28, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A little inspiration from WarnDog...

So, I'm not dead. Dead tired of birding my low dividend yard? Well, yes.

The truth is, I hardly get enough time to bird these days that when I do get a chance, I glass real hab. Granted, I do scope the yard every day for at least 5 minutes and I keep a keen eye on the neighbor's feeders but that's really about all I have time to do. I can't believe I haven't scored CORE on my neighbor's feeders yet this winter. Or WWCR with all the spruce trees in the neighborhood (no hemlocks though so maybe that's a key factor). But at least a flyover?

Speaking of flyovers, Rivers and I were out in the yard a few days ago testing out our new paper airplanes, when two BAEAs flew right over the driveway. An adult calling to an immature. Can't beat that. And Rivers pointed out the chickadees to me while singing along with them...literally. He just started saying, "chick a dee dee dee." Needless to say, I'm a pretty proud dad.

So the yard hasn't been great this winter but honestly, there's not much to keep most birds around. Just not any habitat (although my "brush pile" does seem to pull in decent numbers of HOSP). I can only stare at the sky for so long. So I've spent most of my time venturing farther afield within the county. Too much other interesting stuff to see. But I will say that my local patch about 3 miles from the house does indeed have WWCR and CORE and PISI and...everything else my yard doesn't at the moment. For crying out loud I just nabbed ROPI 3 days ago!

I'm glad you guys are having better luck but I'm a little jaded with The Cheddarlands at the moment. Things will hopefully pick up in a few weeks.

I did nab my 8th SNOW for the winter! Spotted it from inside the plane while taxiing down the runway at Ohare. Of my 8 birds (in three states), 7 have been self-found. That probably won't ever happen in my lifetime again...

Snowy Owl #6 (February, Michigan)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

31, 32, 33, 34....

Not an hour after I got back Monday from ten days in FL I was welcomed home by three Sandhills leisurely climbing a thermal over the house. Spring is in the air, but for the small flock of redpolls that are persistent in the yard. A short while later a single fly over Purple Finch was a surprise. Today, after de-icing the roof, I climbed up to scan for goodies over the Kalamazoo Lake basin. A single female Mallard flying up the next street over and a pair of courting ROPI atop the radar dome on the distant dune across the lake were some new easy pickins. Not much moving over the lake today, however.

Fitty cent

Rough-legged Hawk, Sand Lake MI, Feb 23, 2012
Technically it's 51, since yesterday's non-MALL duck (seen at extreme distance, lost from view) would be a tick, but what does it matter when the gap is this big?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Yardbirding in the Garden of Eden

I'm a collector of early field guides...found this little gem last fall. It was printed in 1897 and has annual backyard bird lists from 1903-1918 (before hyphens were invented).

The guide is so old that it had a plate of a species that is now extinct (scroll down).

Dangerously close to left field ... again (yawn)

Just had the first large flock of CEDW for the year, for the winter in fact, about 26 birds. Might BOWA have invaded far enough to reach Puttsky in 012????? Latitude looks good currently, at least to our east:Plus 50 has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Earth to AABO DABI, ANJOvy, and WWJDD

OK guys, what gives? Is it the vast lead I have amassed which has scared you away from posting? Update please!

Friday, February 10, 2012


I was sick of seeing my HORE post on the top of the list and wanted to point out that I rose to 49 with the addition of BDOW 2 nights ago. Yes, I am sticking with that code.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter migration well underway

Around 4PM I was going through my HORE pics from my Kent Co. lifer seen earlier today, when I heard a distant sound through the live feed microphone. Turned on Audacity and recorded the live feed. You can all expect many more similar scores from throughout 2012, so I thought I'd prepare you for the format in which I am going to kick your asses:

Ran outside and saw this 1/4 mile overhead, soaring to the north:
I am not sure I won't have peenting AMWO tonight. I am still in shorts and comforatble...

Side note: I flushed like 50 redpolls from the feeders this morning, and they didn't return. Hopes for HORE in the yard are gaining ground.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sound the trumpet -- LIFER ALERT and Yard Palindrome

Well, sit right back and I'll tell you a tale.

I was pounding away at my computer when I heard the trumpet of a swan -- I busted out to confirm that it wasn't my neighbor practicing his brass. Sure-nut a Big White Swan trumpeting it's identity flew right over Swamp Lair airspace on the way to who knows were.

Feb. 1st -- that felt more like April 1st, but I'll take it....

.......and that makes a smooth 181 for the Swamp Lair.

Migration is sure late this year

I've never before experienced an April without icterids, PUFI, RBNU, raptor migration (well, this has begun at least some), meadowlarks, and sapsuckers like this. It's strange how the birds just aren't keeping up with the warm fronts (?!).

Here's one I haven't had much this year but had again today:
The Least Bittern lake behind my house (sideline: my prediction for getting LEBI for my yard this year: Jun 4, 2012; stay tuned...) is half thawed, and I was fairly surprised to see 11 dabblers just now. Just can't figure out how Wigeons and Blue-winged Teals aren't here given that it's already mid April!?